Come One, Come All to ArmadilloCon!

But first, you can get House of Fate RIGHT. NOW.

That’s right! The wait is over. Head on over to the BSB webstore, and you can get a paperback or ebook copy. BSB sells ebooks in all formats, compatible with all ereaders! And if you spend $25 or more, you can use the code TEN% to save 10%! How cool is that!

Still not convinced? Read the excerpt on the House of Fate BSB page, then get back to me. I’ll wait.

Cool, now that you’ve ordered House of Fate for everyone you know, let’s talk ArmadilloCon! It’s this weekend, August 4-6, at the Omni Southpark hotel in Austin. Here’s where you can find me:

Friday, August 4, 8:00 PM-9:00 PM in the Southpark room: Timeless vs. Tired Tropes in SFF How to make tropes work for you. What works and what doesn’t and why.

Saturday, August 5, Noon-12:30 PM in the Conference Center: Reading

Saturday August 5, 7:00 PM-8:00 PM in the Southpark Room: LGBTQA+ Alphabet Soup & Sci-Fi/Fantasy LGBTQA+ in speculative fiction, both characters & behind the scenes, how SFF is a perfect medium for it… and how hacks take advantage of the tropes

Saturday, August 5, 8:00 PM-9:00 PM in the Southpark B  Room: You have a great idea for a story — Now what? Ideas are everywhere. Most writers have more ideas than they know what to do with. How do you take your awesome idea and build it out into a short story or a novel?

Sunday, August 6, 1:00 PM-2:00 PM in the Dealers’ Room: Signing

Sunday, August 6, 3:00 PM-4:00 PM in Southpark B What is this thing Called Plot?:And how is it done right — and wrong?

You have no excuses for missing me at this event. I’m gonna be EVERYWHERE. So come on out and see me! I’ll have books. I’ll have swag. We’ll talk nerdy to each other.

Who’s in?

 

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We’re coming for you, Chicago.

That’s right, next week is the annual GCLS conference at the Crowne Plaza O’Hare in Chicago! It’s five full days of lesfic writers talking about what they do best. There will be presentations, keynote speeches, panels, readings, and BOOKS! Seriously, you can get so many books there. Books that you can’t get anywhere else. Like…

That’s right! If you attend the GCLS conference, you can get House of Fate a whole month early! Before the freakin’ trailer is even out! You too can get the book I call, “A must read!” It has been called, “Something people will be interested in,” and “Hey, cool cover!”

Seriously, tho, the blurb:

Judit has one duty: to guard the chosen one, he who will unite two warring, star-spanning houses in marriage. Simple, if she wasn’t already in love with the bride-to-be. As far as anyone knows, Annika has been raised to be the perfect bride and future matriarch. Secretly, she’s an assassin ordered to usurp the chosen one’s mind and kill anyone who gets in her way.

When the political landscape shifts, murders and abductions threaten to tear the galaxy apart. Judit and Annika race to uncover the source of the strife. It must be someone powerful and bold enough to risk throwing whole star systems into ruin, someone who could change destinies and bring two lovers together, if they survive.

(Psst, if you can’t GCLS this year, House of Fate also available on the BSB site.)

BUT IF YOU CAN GCLS (and I highly recommend it) I’m going to be all over this conference, y’all.

On Thursday, July 6, from 8:30 – 9:20am, I’m doing a presentation called The Art of the Fight in room O’Hare #1

Whether you have two characters engaged in a bare-knuckle brawl or a shoot-out involving many players, this presentation will help writers successfully navigate writing a combat scene. Learn the difference between realistic and fiction fighting, how to judge a character’s level of combat expertise, what language to use to make a combat scene pop, and how to pace the scene so that readers are always immersed in the action.

Come watch me totter around on painkillers and tell you how to kick people’s asses. In fiction, of course. Mostly.

On the same Thursday, July, 6 from 2-3 pm, I’m moderating a panel called Not Your Mama’s Paranormal in room O’Hare #4

Thinking outside the box is what the paranormal and fantasy genres are all about.  But what does it take to stand out in a world already populated with werewolves, shapeshifters, and wizards. What’s next?

I will endeavor not to embarrass or my lovely panelists. Or maybe I will…

Also on Thursday, July 6, from 4:10-5 pm, I’m participating in Romance Mad Libs in room O’Hare #4

Join us for a new panel game from GCLS! Romance writers test their quick-witted response ability when given some of our most interesting romance vocabulary—submitted by the audience members.

This is going to be a laugh riot. The words, “quivering love mounds” will probably get used.

Then, on Friday, July 7, from 9:50-10:50 am, I will be reading in O’Hare 5 from House of Fate. So you can run out and buy that afterward.

Finally, on Friday, July 7 from 5:30-6:30 pm, I will be participating in the massive Author Autograph Session in the vendor room. Get all your books signed and enter to win an awesome contest from Bold Strokes Books.

Contest rules:

Introducing the BOLD STROKES BOOKS at GCLS 13th Annual Conference Author Signing Contest! WIN TEN BSB BOOKS OF YOUR CHOICE! We’ll be distributing these postcards at the Author Autograph session on Friday – while you’re getting your books signed, collect at least ten of these authors’ signatures on the card, put your name and email address on the card, drop it off with Barbara Ann Wright, and we’ll pull a winner out of a hat.
Ann Aptaker, AuthorJulie BlairDena BlakeMelissa Brayden Donna K. Ford Catherine Friend Anne Laughlin D. Jackson Leigh Jeannie Levig Erin McKenzie Laydin Michaels Tina Michele Martha Miller Lisa Moreau Jaycie Morrison Lesléa Newman Radclyffe Aurora Rey Juliann Rich KC Richardson Fiona Riley Justine Saracen Cass Sellars Nell Stark Holly Stratimore Carsen Taite Shelley Thrasher M. Ullrich Ali Vali Missouri Vaun Jessica L. Webb MJ Williamz Barbara Ann Wright

So, with all this and more, you’re totally coming to the conference, right? Please? I need someone to lead me around. Or push me around in a wheelbarrow. Now where am I going to get a glittery wheelbarrow on short notice? Hmm.

Two Big Cons, Two Chances to See Yours Truly!

Hey gang, on April 28-30, come see me and all the great guests at HavenCon in Austin!

And on May 12-14, I’ll be appearing at Houston Comicpalooza!

You can find the schedule for HavenCon here, but in case you’re dying to know just where you can find me:

Friday, April 28th at 11:00am, I’ll be leading a talk on LGBTQ characters as villains.

Saturday, April 29th at 11:00am, I’ll be give out some tips and tricks on Worldbuilding.

And all weekend, I’ll be rocking a Guest of Honor table so you can buy books and talk about life. Maybe there will even be some prizes. You have to come to find out!

The full schedule for Houston Comicpalooza isn’t up yet, but all the Guest bios are here. Boy, am I in some rare company! And here’s where you can find me:

On Friday, May 12th at 4:00pm, I’ll be on a panel called “Not Your Grandpa’s Fantasy.”

On Saturday, May 13th at 11:30am, I’ll be on a new type of panel, a fan roundtable, and we’ll be discussing fantasy.

On Saturday at 2:30, it’s another fan roundtable about science fiction.

Also in May, on the 16h, I’ll be at the Women With Pride Book Club talking about Coils at 7pm!

Now, come on, you can come see me at one of these, right?

 

Lone Star LesFic time!

I hope you’ll join me this Saturday, April 1st for the Lone Star LesFic Festival!

Tons of authors, a raffle, and door prizes await. Plus, you can buy books and get them signed by the authors!

I hope some of you can come out and see me. You can get your hands on one of these babies:

Now with stickers!

Hope you can come out and see us:

Saturday, April 1st, 8:45 am to 6:30 pm
Norris Center, 2525 Anderson LN,
Austin, TX 78757

Back from Dallas Pride!

Didn’t do as well sales-wise at Dallas Pride this year because it was so freakin hot. Seriously, I almost passed out, and that’s never happened to me before. I thought, “I have to remember these sensations in case I ever have a character going through them.” Ah, the writer’s life…

My health problems continue as I move to different medications and deal with side effects, but I hope that will all be sorted out soon. Feeling shitty is for the birds. And it makes it very hard to work. Fingers crossed for me, okay?

And in the spirit of that, I’m going to go write now while I have the energy. Wish me luck.

My BSB Camp Presentation

Hey, y’all. I’m back from the Bold Strokes Books writers’ retreat! It was an entire week of presentations, writing sprints, and general tomfoolery. And ice cream. Boy, was there ice cream. Who feels like hitting the gym with me?

This year was my second trip to the retreat, and I was asked to put on a presentation with the fabulous and talented Carsen Taite and the equally awesome Melissa Brayden. We were so professional with our PowerPoint slides…

We spoke about how to pick the right events as an author, how to participate in panels at conventions (cons), and how to give a stellar reading. I tackled the second part, so if you’re interested, here’s what I had to say (minus my joking improv lines because I can’t remember them):

I’ve been a guest at around 15 cons and spoken on about 50 panels on a variety of topics. Some of what I have to say will be old news to many, but I have to begin at the beginning for those who might be lost, starting with:

What is a panel?

It’s a group of pre-selected people at a con speaking on a predetermined topic. Panels on a variety of topics are the backbone of a convention and are scheduled throughout the day. Small conventions might have 1 to 5 panels running at the same time, while large conventions can have 10 to 15 running simultaneously, depending on the space. They usually have a moderator asking questions about a topic you know about beforehand, and I’ve seen them with anywhere from 2 to 6 participants.

Why be a panelist?

Exposure

Meeting other authors

Conventions can be fun

Appearances can lead to book sales, but mostly it’s about getting your name out there and getting people to remember you. Even if they don’t buy your book immediately, they’ll remember you later when they’re looking around the internet or shopping on Amazon. Also, authors buy books, too, and I remember the people who impress me on panels. Also, building your author friend network will help you discover new writing or marketing tips, and it’s always nice to have more friends. As for enjoying the con, I like to pick cons I already want to go to and then volunteer to be a panelist.

Smaller cons have asked me how busy I want to be (how many panels I want to do each day.) I usually pick a lot, but I like to stay busy. Leave yourself enough time to enjoy the con.

How to be invited to do panels:

The convention organizers invite you out of the blue.

or

You volunteer to be a panelist.

The second is much more common than the first. Even with all the panels I’ve done, I’ve only just been invited to speak at a convention that I’ve never been to without me having to ask them first. It’s Houston Comicpalooza, and I’m pretty jazzed!

As for volunteering, scour the website for information on how to volunteer. If that doesn’t work, trying searching their Facebook page. You’ll want to do this many months in advance. If the convention doesn’t have readily available info on how to be a panelist, you might have to dig a bit, find an email address for whomever is in charge of guests, and if you can’t find one, you’ll have to email whatever address the convention gives for their contact info. I’ve gotten in touch with many cons through their Facebook pages as well as their websites. And you probably want to do it as soon as the information for their next convention becomes available. Some conventions plan a year or so in advance.

Speaking on panels:

Pick your topics well

After I’ve been formally invited to be a panelist at a convention, I’ve often been asked about what topics interest me. They’re usually pretty general at first and then become more specific as the date for the convention gets closer. For instance, the sci fi conventions that I do often have writing or world building panels, and I like to volunteer for those because I have a lot to say on the topic. I also volunteer for things I’m very knowledgeable about like mythology, so I can sound smart. I would not volunteer for a YA panel, say, because I don’t think I’ve read or written enough to contribute. If there’s a topic you think you can make lots of jokes about, pick that.

Informative or entertaining?

Panels come in two types: informative and entertaining, usually the former. A writing panel would probably try and teach the audience writing techniques, where an action movie panel would just be discussing films for the entertainment of the audience. Even if I’m on an informative panel, though, I try to be entertaining. You want to try and hit that sweet spot of smart and funny. I know, I know. If only we could hire someone to do it for us.

Talk about your writing and your books (but not too often.)

Remember that you’re there in a professional capacity. People come to listen to you because they want to hear about your processes and about how you do what you do. So talk about your work and how you write or whatever the panel is about but try not to mention the name of your book too often, maybe once or twice. Unless the panel is about something like Gothic literature, and then you probably won’t mention your work at all. You’re just trying to be memorable at that point.

Are you at all funny? Be that.

Funny is memorable. People follow funny people around a convention, and they will be more likely to remember you and look up your work later.

Be succinct.

Limit your responses to the topic and try to be as succinct as you can. People always remember the asshole who talked too much and not in a good way.

Include the audience when you speak.

Try and look at everyone while you’re speaking, including other panelists. The more people you make eye contact with, the more they’ll pay attention because people are scared of looking away if they think you might catch them at it.

Proposing panels to conventions:

Each convention usually has info on their website about how to propose a panel. Some want a panel topic, some want a topic and a list of panelists. Some big conventions require you to propose a panel in order to speak at all. But just because you propose a panel doesn’t mean they’ll accept. And be warned, if you propose a panel and the con accepts it, you will probably be the moderator unless someone else has already agreed to do the job. If you’re the moderator, you can still answer all the topic questions, but you’ll be the one coming up with all of them first.

What kind of panels you propose should depend on the con audience and general vibe. A sci fi con would probably not welcome a panel on westerns unless they were also sci fi. Again, the con website is invaluable for research. They often have info on past cons and you can see what other panels they’ve had, so you avoid any repeats.

How do I get paid for speaking at conventions?

Usually, you don’t. But you might get in for free. Sometimes, headliners get paid. But even then, a small convention may not be able to pay you but might offer you a comped hotel room or a travel stipend. Most small cons have offered me and my friends free entry into the convention, but some have offered it only to me. Most big cons still require you to buy an admission ticket, though some offer a discount for speakers. The only time I’ve ever gotten my room comped was when I was a guest of honor, and even then, I didn’t get paid.

Some pro tips:

Pick the seat that will give you maximum success.

Panels will almost always be set up along a table. The moderator will usually be at one end, though sometimes in the middle. If you sit at the ends, I guarantee you will be asked to speak first at least once during the session. Don’t assume that just because you’re at the opposite end from the moderator, that you will be last. If you always need time to think of an answer, sit toward the middle but never at the moderator’s side. If you’re that nervous about going first, speak to the moderator beforehand and ask them not to call on you first.

Fake it until you make it.

If public speaking terrifies you like it used to terrify me, pretend you’re someone else. Sounds insane, but it works. I’m an introvert, so to deal with stressful situations like cons, I create a persona that can perform at them. Then I have to go take a break and be quiet for a few hours. Sometimes, there are pills involved. Yummy, yummy pills.

Linger after the panel is done.

Unless the next panel is breathing down your necks for their turn at bat, linger after a panel is done for just a few seconds so anyone who wants can come up and engage you in conversation. Someone you’ve engaged personally is more likely to become a fan.

Wear something memorable yet appropriate.

When I do sci fi cons, I often wear funny, geeky t-shirts. When I do other cons, I try to dress in bright colors or wear distinctive jewelry. This helps people remember me and pick me out of a crowd.

Bring some swag.

Many cons will have tables where guests and panelists can put out freebies for people to take. Take advantage of this by putting out bookmarks, postcards, or pens with your name and book title on them. Never spend lots of money on swag. Keep it simple. If you make your own swag, limit it to something cheap that you enjoy making, like buttons, fridge magnets, or key chains. GotPrint.com is an excellent webpage that allows you to create your own bookmarks and postcards.

Why is everything so hard?

Why, for fuck’s sake, after writing a book do you have to do all this crap?!?! Because we’re all in this business to sell books. Even if you’re motivated by a nobler purpose than mere money, you have to get your books into the hands of readers, and the more appearances you do, the more your name gets out there. They get easier with time.

 

And that’s it! It went over very well, especially after I started sprinkling references to The Pyramid Waltz in after that “don’t mention yourself too often” business. I got some laughs. A wonderful time was had by all, and even if it wasn’t, they hid that fact from me. So hooray!

Please, ask questions if you have them. I’m here for you. 🙂

 

Back and Straight to Work!

I’m finally home from all my travels! Whew. Had an awesome time at Denver and Houston, though. Met a lot of hot fans. Literally. They were very attractive. And sweaty.

Now I’m back and getting my ass to work. I’ve sent in the final proofs for Coils, which will be coming your way this September.

Coils 300 DPII’ve had a lot of fun working on this book. It’s a fantasy romance with a comedic twist, which is a new one for me since I’ve never written a straight-up comedy before. I always try to incorporate a bit of comedy into everything I write. (I love me some witty banter.) But this will be the first in which I try to be funny from start to finish. I hope you laugh. Even if you don’t, lie, okay?

 

House of Fate WallpaperI’m also hard at work on House of Fate, my standalone space opera. Another first, it’s a sci-fi romance. I’ve done sci-fi with the Godfall series, but this will be a romance at heart, sort of like The Pyramid Waltz. I’ve discovered I really like yelling, “Lesbians in space!” at Pride events, and after this book comes out, it will be doubly true!

What’s everyone else been up to? Anyone else visit some Pride events in June? Anyone going on vacation this summer? Everyone else hot as balls?

Time for Denver and Houston Pride!

Come see me this weekend, Saturday and Sunday, June 18 and 19 for Denver Pride! Bold Strokes will be at booth L17, behind the main stage, across from the library.

Then come see me Saturday, June 25th at Houston Pride! You’ll see our banners flying!

I know everyone is hurting because of Orlando. I am, too. Now more than ever, we need to stand united. I hope you’ll come share in Pride with me and show that whatever happens, you can’t keep us down. Standing strong is what our community does best. 🙂

The Women and the Words

I did a blog post for Women and Words all about the superpowers in Paladins of the Storm Lord and what my superpower would probably be if I had one. Hint: it’s not pretty, but it does involve soup. You’ll have to go read to find out.

Nest stops in person, Denver Pride on June 18th and 19th, then Houston Pride on June 25th. Hope to see you there.